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Thread: Transferring during masters programme

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    Transferring during masters programme

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    I'm currently enrolled in the first year of a two year Applied Economics Masters programme in a particular university. After briefly speaking to the Dean, I just found out that he is glad to support my transfer to the MRes programme next year, provided I score well during my Year 1 of my Msc and can find someone to supervise my Masters thesis for my MRes.

    So, that means that instead of doing 2 years at said university to complete my applied econs masters, I'll be doing 3 years here and graduate with an MRes. I'll be 28 when I enter a PhD programme in Fall 2020, if the age is relevant.

    The reason for this is that my current applied masters isn't very rigorous, and I'll be doing PhD coursework in my MRes, so there's also the area of my As there being a better signal. The 2 year MRes will essentially be taking like 1.5 years worth of PhD coursework; micro, macro, metrics and 2 field courses. Plus, since it's an MRes, I also have the Masters Thesis component to further signal adcoms of my understanding of the kind of work that will be waiting for me in the PhD programme.

    So, should I make the switch?

    I'm currently leaning towards YES, since I'll get tuition waiver for the MRes + a stipend while my time in my MSc is only partially funded via some scholarship.

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    Re: Transferring during masters programme

    Seems like an easy "yes." Although, the fact that it is such as easy answer suggests the MA program you are transferring from might have not been a smart move in the first place.

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    Re: Transferring during masters programme

    The reason I took my current course was because I was already planning on spending the year to build up some math modules + the project I'm RA-ing for will last 1.5 years, so my thinking (at that point in time) was more along the lines of 'why not just take the masters, since I'm locked in for two years anyway, to stockpile more As for a better signal'. I have a partial scholarship for it (sole recipient, hence it can help populate my CV) and the remainder sum wasn't large enough to deter me.


    One other thing. Regarding my master's thesis, should I just pick an area that can garner me a well-known advisor or should my paper be for an area I'm interested in?

    This is because there are a few repec 5-10% profs here doing some good work in econometrics but I'm not entirely certain that is what I want to end up focusing on at the PhD level.

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    Re: Transferring during masters programme

    You should pick a topic where an advisor can meaningfully "guide" you, i.e. teach you how to implement a research design along the way. Your own expected interests should not be a major factor, unless you're interested in a niche field like economic history or micro theory. Most fields in economics share similar research methods.

    If they're econometricians, it may be worthwhile to write a thesis applying some of their methods to applied-micro/labor/education topics. I suggest you meet with those professors to see if you can arrive at such a topic. It's unlikely that you'll be able to do pure econometrics work at this point.

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    Re: Transferring during masters programme

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    You should pick a topic where an advisor can meaningfully "guide" you, i.e. teach you how to implement a research design along the way. Your own expected interests should not be a major factor, unless you're interested in a niche field like economic history or micro theory. Most fields in economics share similar research methods.
    Duly noted. It's good to know that my own interests should not be a major factor, since I haven't really committed to a particular area yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by chateauheart View Post
    If they're econometricians, it may be worthwhile to write a thesis applying some of their methods to applied-micro/labor/education topics. I suggest you meet with those professors to see if you can arrive at such a topic. It's unlikely that you'll be able to do pure econometrics work at this point.
    I apologise if I sound a little misinformed but isn't it weird to meet with a potential advisor and not have a concrete idea of the direction to go for the thesis? Shouldn't you approach a potential advisor only when you have an idea for the thesis and see if they're willing to advise you?


    Edit:

    I've properly looked through the MRes programme and it turns out that we'll be taking 2 sequences each of PhD micro, macro and metrics, along with 1 field course, spread out over the course of 2 years.

    The Micro courses reference MWG, Rubenstein's text for Game Theory and Truman Bewley's General Equilibrium, Overlapping Generations Models and Optimal Growth Theory.

    The Macro courses reference D. Acemoglu, Introduction to Modern Economic Growth, Ljungqvist & Sargent's Recursive Macroeconomic Theory, Stokey's Recursive Methods in Economic Dynamics and a couple others.

    The Metric courses reference Hayashi 2000, Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data, by Wooldridge, Econometric Analysis, by William H. Greene and Time Series Analysis by Hamilton.

    Just looking at the reference books makes it quite overwhelming. Regardless, doing well in these courses will definitely be a good signal right?
    Last edited by tutonic; 09-13-2017 at 03:09 AM.

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    Re: Transferring during masters programme

    Can anyone comment on whether it is advisable to pursue a masters dissertation in the realm of mechanism design and/or game theory? Or is it a risky pursuit to embark on something theoretical at a masters level?

    This is because while I'm surveying all the recent volumes in the Tier 1 journals, the ones that captured my attention tends to be in these areas (although, I seem to have trouble following some of the material covered in some of these papers; very abstract stuff).

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    Re: Transferring during masters programme

    Just wanted to say I'm working on an experimental paper with my advisers that has a theory portion. That theory portion took awhile... On an off topic I was exploring/working on some ideas regarding public goods experiments. To be honest, I got sick of reading folk theorem after folk theorem. If you can stomach that sure, but theory in general is hard, because your either right or wrong. No middle ground to justify a null result.

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    Re: Transferring during masters programme

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Jump View Post
    Just wanted to say I'm working on an experimental paper with my advisers that has a theory portion. That theory portion took awhile... On an off topic I was exploring/working on some ideas regarding public goods experiments. To be honest, I got sick of reading folk theorem after folk theorem. If you can stomach that sure, but theory in general is hard, because your either right or wrong. No middle ground to justify a null result.
    Hmm, if that's the case then it might be safer to do an applied/empirical paper for my master's thesis. Maybe I'll look into applied game theory (if there is such an area).

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    Re: Transferring during masters programme

    To my knowledge game theory kind of permeates throughout all the subfields. Like I believe mechanism design is one form of applied game theory. I admit that my experiences may not be an accurate representation since we have a different objective with trying to get published. Whereas a thesis might be more about finishing and signaling.

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    Re: Transferring during masters programme

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Jump View Post
    To my knowledge game theory kind of permeates throughout all the subfields. Like I believe mechanism design is one form of applied game theory. I admit that my experiences may not be an accurate representation since we have a different objective with trying to get published. Whereas a thesis might be more about finishing and signaling.
    Duly noted. Thank you for your input. I'll look into the field again.

    I have one last (quite retarded) question. Is it a cause for concern if I can't seem to grasp what the journals are talking about? For example, Journal of Economic Theory Vol. 171 - Dynamic Contracting Under Adverse Selection & Renegotiation by Maestri. It sounds like something I might find interest in, but I can't seem to make much sense of the paper, if I'm being quite honest.

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